Europe’s first EPR, Unit 3 at Finland’s Olkiluoto nuclear power plant, was connected to the nation’s grid on March 12, Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), the facility’s owner and operator, has announced.
Olkiluoto-3 is also the first new Finnish reactor in four decades, and one of only three new reactors in Europe in the past 15 years. (Romania’s Cernavoda-2 began supplying electricity to the grid in August 2007, and Belarus’s Belarusian-1 in November 2020.)
A 1,600-MWe Generation III+ EPR supplied by Framatome, Olkiluoto-3 achieved grid connection at 12:01 p.m. (local time) at a power output of 103 MW. Commercial operation is scheduled for July, at which point the reactor will produce approximately 14 percent of Finland’s electricity demand, according to TVO.
“The start of electricity production has been carefully prepared for, and this is a great demonstration of our expertise,” said Marjo Mustonen, senior vice president of electricity production at TVO. “OL3 is a significant addition to clean electricity production in Finland, the share of which will rise to over 90 percent. At the same time, the need for the import of electricity will decrease to below half.”
Located in western Finland, the Olkiluoto plant also houses two 890-MWe boiling water reactors. Units 1 and 2 began commercial operation in October 1979 and July 1982, respectively.
Positive reactions: “It took perseverance, vigilance, and commitment to execute this large industrial project, but the contribution of reliable, round-the-clock, low-carbon energy generation for the local communities in Finland is tremendous,” said Bernard Fontana, chief executive officer of Framatome. “We celebrate this significant success and express gratitude to our customers, partners, and every team member that contributed to this historic event.”
Sama Bilbao y León, director general of the World Nuclear Association, commented: “Olkiluoto 3’s start-up will further reduce Finland’s use of fossil fuels and need for electricity imports, increasing its energy security and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. . . . We congratulate the staff of TVO, the Finnish regulator STUK, and all the companies involved for this great achievement.”